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What is middle class?

October 4, 2010

I wrote earlier about middle class benefits. Iain Martin now has a much better piece on this on the WSJ. I’m not sure, however, that he’s quite right on one point. He concludes by saying that Ed Miliband’s pledge to stand up for the “squeezed middle” could make him an unlikely champion of Middle England. In fact, I think that Ed was talking about the same group of average earners that will benefit from the tax cuts for low and middle-income earners that Nick Clegg proposed and are now part of the coalition agreement. Osborne’s cuts will target a wealthier group of people. All this points out a definitional problem. As The Economist pointed out a bit ago, “middle class” has come to refer to people who are actually relatively well off: people like doctors, teachers and lawyers. It’s these people that Osbourne is targetting.

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